Basement or Garage Gym? What’s Best for You?


You’re in the luxurious position that you can choose between the basement and the garage to build your home gym in. What are the pros and cons of both and what is best for you? That’s what we’re here to find out.

The garage is a better option for a home gym since the ceiling is higher and the ventilation is better. People for whom parking their car outside is a deal breaker, the basement is a better option. The basement is good for home gyms and isn’t usually but has low ceilings and bad ventilation.

There is more to it than the quick summary above. Keep reading to find out a few more pros and cons of both rooms like temperature and noise.


Basement vs. garage for a home gym

First off, congratulations! You’re in the lucky position that you can actually choose where you are going to build your home gym. That’s a better situation than most people are in so while you might stress over the choice, be happy that you’ve got one. There are a few more rooms that can be used to be build your home gym but the basement and garage are the two most popular options. More about the alternatives below.

Now, let’s get into the details a little bit more. What are the pros and cons of both of both spaces?


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Basement

Here are a few things you should keep in mind when thinking about building a home gym in your basement;

Pros

  • Stable temperature. The temperature in a basement doesn’t change as quickly as in the rest of the house. It depends on your climate if that’s a great thing but for most people that’s a pro. In the winter it’ll be a bit warmer than outside while in the summer it’ll be a bit cooler.  I personally prefer colder temperatures in my gym over hotter. So as long as my hands don’t freeze to the barbell, I’m good.
  • Noise. The basement is underground. That means noise doesn’t get out easily. You can still have some noise problems if you drop really heavy weights though. Read more about gym noise insulation here.
  • Strong concrete slab. Heavy weightlifting requires a strong floor. Most basements have a concrete slab as a floor. That means it can take a lot of weight and abuse. Gym flooring is still advisable but that’s more to protect your equipment than your floor although you could still damage it.
  • The basement is usually not used optimally anyways. Basements might be a storage place for assorted **** you collect over the years. It’s not a highly trafficked area of your house. That means you could move your stuff somewhere else and create a gym there without causing much of a problem.

Cons

  • It’s difficult to get equipment in and out of the basement. Some basements have a side door which makes things easier but if you’ve got to carry big pieces of equipment down the narrow stairs, it is difficult.
  • Ventilation. Since basements are under ground, the normal ventilation isn’t great. You’ll have to think about how to improve it since working out in a badly ventilated basement isn’t comfortable or healthy. Read more about improving your home gym’s air quality here.
  • Basements are often damp and can have water intrusion. This is not good for the atmosphere and can cause your equipment to rust. Of course a big part of this can be remedied by improving ventilation.
  • Low ceilings. Basements often have lower ceiling heights than the rest of the house. Low ceilings aren’t impossible to work around but do complicate things. Read this post to find out more about how high your ceiling should be.
  • No natural light. You’ll always have to turn on some kind of artificial lighting.

Read here how to go from an unfinished basement to a home gym.


Garage

Here’s what you should know before building a home gym in your garage.;

Pros

  • It’s very easy to get equipment in and out. There’s a big door that opens to the driveway. You can basically get your equipment delivered from the truck straight into your gym. No small doors or stairs to deal with.
  • A big door you can open. Nice weather outside? Just open the door and you’re almost working out outside. You could even move some smaller equipment outside and actually work out outside.
  • Usually more natural light than the basement. That does depend heavily on the specific house though.
  • Strong concrete floor. Like the basement, the floor of a garage is strong and built to handle a lot of weight. It’s still recommended to use a gym flooring but you won’t have to worry about putting heavy weights on this floor.

Cons

  • It’s difficult to build a home gym and park your car at the same time. Although it’s not impossible. Check this post how you could do it. You’ll have to make some compromises however.
  • Usually not well insulated so the temperatures are more extreme than in the basement. If it’s hot that’s easily offset by opening the door but if it’s cold, well, you’ll have to work harder.  
  • Some garages don’t have a completely level floor for drainage. This means your weights might roll away. When put down. This is a small thing but can get irritating.

Conclusion

Which one is better? That’s not so easy to say. I’d say in general the garage is a better option because of the easy accessibility, ventilation, natural light and higher ceilings. Not everyone wants their car to sleep outside however.

The basement has a more constant temperature and it’s a space that’s often not used for any other activity. It takes more work to build a home gym in the basement though because the stairs don’t help to move equipment and you’ll have to do some work on the lighting and ventilation.

So, the garage is better for most people but if you don’t want to park your car outside, the basement is a very good option.


Other options

There are a few other spaces that can be used to build your home gym in. What about those options? Are they any good or can you just disregard them altogether? Let’s take a look.

Bedroom

The most common alternative space is a spare bedroom. It isn’t a bad option at all. It’ll have the same temperature as the rest of the house, good ventilation and natural light. The biggest drawback is that bedrooms usually aren’t on the ground floor. This means two things: You’ll have to worry about how much weight you put on it. Second floor bedrooms aren’t really built to handle a ton of weight.

The other drawback is that there will be much more noise transmission to the rest of the house compared to the basement or garage. If that’s a problem for you depends on your situation of course.

Backyard

Ran out of space in your house and don’t want to let your kids sleep outside? How about building a gym in your backyard? If that’s a good idea really depends on where you live. This is only really an option in Southern California and similar climates. Too hot and too cold are not the nicest conditions to work out in.

Of course working out in the open air is pretty awesome and much better than any indoor gym. But weather is going to be a big factor in your decision to work out or not. That could disturb you workout continuity.

Another concern is the safety of the equipment. First off, outdoor condition will wear the equipment much faster than indoor conditions. Most gym equipment is designed to be used indoors so it’ll fade and rust pretty quickly outside. Thieves might be another concern.

So, there are quite a few drawbacks to having an outdoor gym but if you live in a safe neighborhood with a great climate, go for it!

If you’re interested in building an outdoor gym, read this post.

Shed

Ok, so an outdoor gym isn’t really feasible for most people but the house is still full. What can you do? How about building a shed in the garden that houses your home gym? You’re using the same space as you would for a garden gym but it’s not occupied by anything so your gym will be welcome.

Your equipment is safer and will last longer. You don’t take up any space in your home and you can build it to suit your needs.

Want a gym shed? Read here what to think about.


Related questions

Can you put a home gym in an apartment? Yes, it’s possible to put a home gym in an apartment. Two concerns are weight and noise. Make sure you don’t overload the floor past what is specified in your building code. Noise can be controlled with a gym flooring and deadlift platform.

Matt

Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. I've been going to the gym for about 15 years and am now looking to build my own. In the process I've learned many things I'd like to share with you.

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